Sunday 30 November 2014

Sunday 30th November

Another great day, dry yes although there was a slight edge to the air. You like me will just have to wait until tomorrow to find how much the rainfall tallied out at. I think that we are still drier at present so far this year, compared to last year, then again it could be all changed round by the end of December... Today over at Gruinart, James had a Sparrowhawk on the reserve. Bob out on Bolsay Moor had a Water Rail, a Red Grouse and 2 Woodcock. He also saw 6 Bullfinches there as well. Round at Ballinaby this morning we spotted a group of 6 Whitefronts, 5 of which had neck collars on, but were too far to read. I came home the same way later on with the scope ready to read the collars, but the geese were not there, another day Ed... Sorry!!!

Saturday 29 November 2014

Saturday 29th November

Today, James had a Water Rail on the reserve at Gruinart. Between Rockside and Sunderland Farm, we had a Merlin on top of a fence post before it flitted off and away! Down, coming out of Bowmore, below the power generating station on Loch Indaal, there was a group of 9 Whooper Swans including a juvenile Swan with them. I have not seem any Pale belied Brent for some time now, come to think about it... Another good day for time of year, on Monday, Winter is officially "supposed" to start, and today I was outside in my shirt sleeves, no jumper or jacket...

Friday 28 November 2014

Friday 28th November

Yesterday afternoon, Bob had headed out to see if he could track down the White tailed Sea Eagle that he had seen earlier on, no joy in that front but he did see a Golden Eagle and also a Peregrine chasing after a Lapwing, the Lapwing evaded getting caught! Another good day again, so no complaints in that department...

Thursday 27 November 2014

Thursday 27th November

James had gone out on the ferry yesterday morning to a RSPB Argyll team meeting which was held up in Oban. On the ferry to Kennacraig, he saw a Black throated Diver and 2 Red throated Divers. Coming back this afternoon, he had a further 2 Red throated Divers and a raft of 24 GND at one point along with several Tysties coming up the Sound of Islay. This morning, Bob had a White tailed Sea Eagle from his kitchen window out over Carn being chased by a Buzzard which in turn had been followed by a couple of Ravens! Here at home, a beautiful ringtail Hen Harrier swooped low over the garden fence and across the grass and out over the other fence.. just great! By the way, another nice dry day outside, not the warmest, but not bad for the last few days of Autumn. I will not complain if we get the same sort of a day tomorrow!!!

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Wednesday 26th November

A glorious day out here today with a beautiful sunset to round the day off by, another day like that tomorrow would not go amiss... Ed's talk on his work with the Greenland Whitefronts here on Islay was last night at the bird nerds turned out to be very informative with a lot of questions by all of us who attended including visitors Chris and Ann from Wigan. On the way home last night, I had a Barn Owl sitting on on a fence post just after the Coastguards as I came up the hill. Today while Bob was out on Bolsay Moor, a late group of 18 Whoopers flew overhead heading in a Southerly direction. He also had 10 Bullfinches together, not sure of the collective name for Bullfinches!

Monday 24 November 2014

Monday 24th November

Forgot to mention last night that I saw a Fulmar fly along the front of the crag at Kilchoman yesterday afternoon, not that I really expect the wind to pick up in a few days time after seeing only 1 Fulmar! This morning out on the feeders, here at home, there were 16 Goldfinches. On Bolsay Moor this morning, Bob had a female Red Grouse, close at hand and also 5 Bullfinches also there troo. More sightings as promised last night from John Miles and his son from last week. A Water Rail was seen down in the reedbed between the Coastguards and Machir Bay, a count of over 90 Twite up at Kilinallan, Long tailed Ducks seen on Loch Indaal too with Bottle nosed and Porpoises seen through their stay. A possible Goshawk was seen briefly and from a distance down over the forestry at Kintra. Returning back over on the ferry to Kennacraig, they had a total of 42 GND, with 19 together in one group alone. Thanks for sharing your sightings folks.. Look forward to reading your Islay article in the Birdwatching magazine in the near future! Remember, if you are around, on Tuesday evening at 7.15 , the Islay bird nerds will be meeting at the Gaelic College, just outside of Bowmore when Ed will give us an update about the Whitefronted Geese, see you there!!!

Sunday 23 November 2014

Sunday 23rd November

A not bad day out here today considering it is almost the end of November... Bob today had 2 Chiffchaff in his garden, 3 Red grouse were seen on Bolsay Moor as was a ringtail Hen Harrier. Along on the strand/ top of Loch Indaal, Bob counted a group of 30 Turnstone along with 35 Dunlin. John Miles who was over last week sent through the highlights of his stay. Golden Eagles most days along with the odd White tailed Sea Eagle as well through his stay. John and his son had seen the Kingfisher at Bridgend as reported earlier, but they had spotted another up at Loch Skerrols on Wednesday, possibly the same bird, but they had heard a heard a Jay over at Margadale which is in from Bunnahabhain. More of John's sightings will be shared with you tomorrow night...

Saturday 22 November 2014

Saturday 22nd November

Forgot to mention last night... Many thanks to Morven and her team from SNH for sharing with us the stats through for the International Goose count. Today, George had 5 Snipe down at Bruichladdich. There had been quite a few squally showers moving through the night last night, with the burn up a bit this morning. The long range forecast for Friday does not look good, rather wet to say the least, perhaps it is has its' advantages living on top of a hill sometimes!

Friday 21 November 2014

Friday 21st November

Morven sent through the figures from the International goose count carried out earlier this week, the figures do not look too good...36,252 Barnies, 5,172 Greenland Whitefronts and 907 Greylags, the comparable count for last year was 46,931 Barnies and 5,888 Whitefronts. Out here on the machir this morning there were 128 Whitefronts along with 48 Barnies. At the same time in and around the feeders in the garden there were around 50 Chaffinches, 9 Goldfinches, 1 Great Tit, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Robin, 1 Blackbird with 3 Pheasants as well. The Fieldares and Redwings appear to be "staying" around a bit longer this Autumn, one welcome sign at least!

Thursday 20 November 2014

Thursday 20th November

Over the last couple of days the first "International" Goose count has been carried out. I have not heard through yet the tally but I heard that 6 Pinkies were amongst the Barnies down at Cornabus valley yesterday. Visiting birder, John Miles had seen an albino Reed Bunting down the same area, so possibly the same bird that Wally and Jude had tried to get an image of, but a van appeared of of nowhere and the bird flew off before Wally had a chance to snap it! Also yesterday, Mary had seen a Bean goose at Lyrabus around 10.30 in the morning before it flew away. Late afternoon another Bean goose (or was it the same one?) had been seen over close to Keills. Amongst the Barnies at Craigens, Mary had a Cackling goose as well as 3 large Canadas. Earlier, she had a huge Peregrine up behind Blackpark and and a dead Buzzard below the overhead wires there too. On her way round Mary also had a Kestrel at Leck Gruinart, 2 Ringtails at Mill cottage and up at Ardnave she counted 14 Ravens. Today beside the coalyard, a Sparrowhawk dropped out of the hedge and then we saw it a few seconds later as it flew past while we came up the road home. If you are around, it is that time again next week, with the monthly "meeting" of the Islay bird nerds. We are meeting centrally at the Gaelic college at 7.15pm when Ed from WWT will be giving us an update on his work on the Whitefronts. Ed was telling me this evening that they have caught and put collars on a further 8 geese along with transponders, so we will here more about them next week. so if you are are over next week, come along... This will be our last get together for 2014 with our next gathering will be at the end of January for a meal to sustain us all somewhere, sometime!

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Wednesday 19th November

Stop press - I have heard a report that a Rough Legged Buzzard has been seen near Port Charlotte. Keep a look out. That was James earlier on with the message... I have been off Islay down seeing family in Surrey for the past few days, so thanks to James for writing the blog in my absence. Down in Surrey, we had seen Jays, Grey Squirrels, Magpies, 7 together one day we were out. Another trip produced several Coots and Moorhens neither of which are that common to us, Green Parakeets with a lack of wee birds seen or not seen as was the case! The odd Starling was noted and a Robin...Back here this morning, in the machir adjacent to the house there were many Greenland whitefronted Geese along with some Barnies. Going down towards the Coastguards this morning, amongst the mixed flock of Starlings, Fieldfares and Redwings there was a leucistic Fieldfare. Armin spotted a ringtail Hen Harrier at the top of Loch Gorm with another over at Gruinart. On Monday evening, just at the darkening, he had an Otter over at Saligo Bay. This afternoon, a low flying fighter jet screamed over and put all the geese up and followed soon after by another, and they wonder how they get bird strikes!!!

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Tuesday 18th November

Another great day - Mary was goose counting all day around Gruinart and Ardnave got a few birds. Hen Harrier and Sparrowhawk at Gruinart, another Sparrowhawk at Lagstoban. At Ardnave - a Merlin, 50 Shags and 2 Cormorants. Last night at Gruinart a White Tailed Eagle and 2 Barn Owls on the Flats.

Monday 17 November 2014

Monday 17th November

I have heard that a pod of Bottle Nosed Dolphins were in Loch Indaal yesterday afternoon chasing mackeral. Apparently putting on a good show. I have had a few sightings in from John and Ewan Miles on the 15th - off the Ferry they had 15+ Great Northern Divers, 15 Red Breasted Mergansers, 40+ Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills, 2 Golden Eagles and 2 White Tailed Eagles 1 an adult with yellow tags. On the 16th (yesterday)- A Brambling Nr Bunahabhain, 2 Black Throated Divers, an juv White Tailed Eagle and a Minke Whale off Rubha Mhail. At Keills 140 Chaffinches and a Yellowhammer and at the head of Loch Indaal a Kingfisher and a male Merlin chasing a Meadow Pipit. At Gruinart today I have had 10,920 Barnacle Geese, 287 White fronts and 112 Greylags, as well as 2 Hen Harriers, 3 Black Tailed Godwits and a flock of 175 Lapwing.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Sunday 16th November

Another beautiful day in paradise- I have just returned from a sit at the hide at Gruinart, great views of a Hen Harrier chasing the ducks about and resting on the islands in the flood. Three Little Grebes bobbing about in front of the hide. Dave P. has been out enjoying the sun and birds - yesterday 18 Pale Bellied Brents at Bruichladdich and today- 8 Whooper Swans at Cornabus Fields, 2 Red Breasted Mergansers and a Great Northern Diver at Kilnaughton and 25 Common Seals, 3 Red Breasted Mergansers, 1 Great Northern Diver, 50 Curlew and a Rock Pipit at Seal Bay nr. Ardbeg.

Saturday 15 November 2014

Saturday 15th November

Lots of bird records for yesterday- apologies for not putting them up yesterday, I was just a bit tied after Kayak Club. Anyway, Mary was up at Ardnave and had 2 Snow Bunting, 8 Goldeneye, 5 Tufted Duck, 33 Teal, 14 Wigeon, 2 Mute Swans, 7 Whooper Swans, 2 Little Grebes and a Coot on Ardnave Loch. 54 Shags and a Cormorant on Nave Island and 2 Grey Plovers and 44 Turnstones at Traigh Nostaig. On Jura Louise had 3 juv White Tailed Eagles together over Craighouse. At Gruinart Dave P. and I had a Sparrowhawk sitting on the hide window ledge, 19 Snipe (at least) and a White Tailed Eagle fly past. There was also 2 Barn Owls on the Flats latter on. Dave P. had seen a Golden Eagle nr. Kilnaughton on Thursday. Now we have caught up- Today Mandy, at Ardnave was pleased to get good views of 3 Snow Bumtings and another White Tailed Eagle. A great weather day and the forecast is good for tomorrow, but I did empty my rain guage today which was showing 5 Inches for November so far.

Thursday 13 November 2014

Thursday 13th November

Wild weather continues, with a bit of wind and a bit of rain. Not too many birds to report today . Mary had 2 Tawny Owls at Portnahaven last night, one alarm calling at her dog, and also 4 Pale Bellied Brents at Bruichladdich this morning. Louise reported a Snow Bunting near Loch Gorm.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Wednesday 12th November

Not the best of days out here today, with blustery, squally showers coming out of nowhere... Tomorrow the forecast not good either with the first 2 ferries already cancelled, the sheep sale which should have taken place tomorrow has been postponed until Monday!!! So what about the birds then.. so here are the counts from the "vols" from yesterday, done on the floods at Gruinart. Birds seen were 6 Mute, 5 Whooper, 76 Greylag, 91 Wigeon, 215 Teal, 140 Mallard, 71 Pintail, 31 Shoveler, 1 Heron, 3 Dabchick, 120 Golden Plover, 479 Lapwing, 4 Snipe, 1 BH Gull, 36 C Gull and 5 Herring Gull. Today down close to Rock Mountain a Merlin zipped across the road in front of me, putting up all the wee birds off the fields. At Sunderland, a couple of Herons were standing in the middle of a stubble field, looking a bit out of place! This side of Sunderland, a Peregrine was seen climbing away after possibly an unsuccessful stoop into a few Rock Doves! Coming back up the road past the Coastguards, there still appear to be quite a good number in the mixed flock of Redwings and Fieldfares, possibly sheltering up before this wind picks up!!

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Tuesday 11th November

Just as well that I kept some sightings back from yesterday, as the weather here today has not been that great, although some hardy souls may well have been out... Down on the Oa, Dave and his team had been out carrying out webs counts as well as Farmland Bird surveys as well. Highlights were as follows, 540 Twite, 120 Rock Dove, 40 Fieldfare, 1 Goosander and also 51 Teal. Also seen were a Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, 2 Hen Harriers, 3 Buzzards and also 2 Golden Eagles. Over on the Rhinns, up Glen Mhor, Bob had a female Blackcap, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Jack Snipe, 1 Golden Eagle, male Hen Harrier, an adult Rough legged Buzzard being mobbed by 3 "local" Buzzard and then it was pursued by a pair of Sparrowhawks! Yesterday the "vols" at Gruinart had carried the webs count on Ardnave Loch with the scores on the doors tallying through at 2 Mute Swan, 3 Whoopers, 51 Wigeon, 70 Teal, 2 Mallard, 7 Tufted Duck, 6 Goldeneye, and a Dabchick. On Loch Gruinart, they had 6 Whoopers, 4 Greylags, 54 Shelduck, 202 Wigeon, 10 Mallard, 17 RBM, 1 Cormorant, 1 Shag, 10 Heron, 155 Oystercatcher, 1165 Golden Plover ,297 Lapwing, 90 Sanderling, 20 Dunlin, 30 Barwit, 325 Curlew, 1 Greenshank, 178 Redshank, 5 Turnstone, 2 BH Gull, 19 C Gull, 25 LBB Gull 4 GBB Gull and 12 H Gulls. Here at home this morning a ringtail Hen Harrier flew past putting up all the of the birds on the ground up in a flat spin... This afternoon, the Jackdaws were mimicking the Starlings with a synchronised flypast, not quite as nimble as the Starlings but quite impressive all the same...

Monday 10 November 2014

Monday 10th November

Yesterday up at Ardnave, Carl saw around 20 Snow Buntings as well as a Stonechat with 6 Red breasted Mergansers offshore. Along the flats at Gruinart, there were many Fieldfare while over at Neriby, there were hundreds of Redwings and finally back home in Port Charlotte, Carl saw a Grey Wagtail. Also yesterday down at Octofad, Liz Hathaway had a large mixed flock of Redwings and Fieldfares. This morning, Bob had a female Blackcap in his garden. On our way out this morning, just after the quarry between Rockside and Sunderland Farm, there was a flock of 10 Long tailed Tits, great to see.. Further on, down at the coalyard on Loch Indaal, 2 Whoopers flew South, no doubt on their way to Ireland... Mary today had a pair of Bullfinches next to the office at Gruinart, down on Loch Indaal she counted 25 Pale bellied Brents, 3 Grey Plovers, a drake Long tailed Duck, 2 Great crested Grebes, several RBM, a raft of Eiders and also a good number of Wigeon. Back up at Craigens, a male Merlin flew away from a fence post with a Sparrowhawk spoofing a mixed flock of Redwing, Fieldfare and Starlings. Later on, while on her way up to Ardnave, a Kestrel was seen.

Sunday 9 November 2014

Sunday 9th November

Nothing much to report here today with all the visiting birders having moved back to their respective homes...There were still a few Redwings and Fieldfares out on the machir outside here this morning and James counted a flock of 102 Redwing and 58 Fieldfare over in one of the fields at Grainel on the reserve at Gruinart. He was saying that the floodwater is receding now with the road along the flats open again although there is still some some water in the fields. Clark had been telling me that we have almost had as much rain so far this November as we had in total for the whole of November last year... better not look at the weather forecast for Tuesday...

Saturday 8 November 2014

Saturday 8th November

Yesterday Bob, David Formby and myself carried out the survey from Bowmore down along the shore to Gartbreck, unfortunately somebody with 3 dogs was ahead of us which caused some of the birds to fly away before we got a chance to count them!!! So here is the tally for what we did get! A female Merlin, 56 Shag, 1 Cormorant, 2 Mute, 3,000 Barnies, 80 Whitefronts, 4 Greylags, 6 Mallard, 272 Wigeon, 152 Teal, 3 Eider, 7 Red Breasted Merganser, 2 Goldeneye, 40 Oystercatcher, 68 Curlew, 1 Barwit, 30 Dunlin, 15 Redshank, 10 Turnstone, 125 Lapwing, 208 Golden Plover, 45 Ringed Plover, 21 GBB Gull, 50 H Gull, 10 BH Gull and 20 Common Gull. On the fields as we went along, there were many Redwing, Fieldfare, Starlings and Skylarks and also some Rock Pipits along the shore with 2 Ravens on one of the small islands/ skerries. Michael Bell headed home today, but on his way to Port Ellen and the ferry, he had seen 60 Redwing and around 100 Fieldfare down at the Coastguards' with a further 100 Redwing at Leorin. Top bird today was a White tailed Sea Eagle which came down on to the merse at the top of Loch Indaal, no doubt looking for its' breakfast! Down closer to Port Ellen, Michael had 3 Golden Eagles out over the hills. From the ferry, he saw small numbers of Kittiwakes flying South/ South Westerly along the coast, around 43 were spotted within 2 miles of leaving on the ferry. Thanks to Michael, Paul Beresford from Nottingham and also Ken Chapman's party from Sandwich Bay for sending in some of their sightings. Today around midday, Peter had a Blackcap in his garden in Bruichladdich. Up here at home, early afternoon, around 100 Fieldfares flew South, possibly the birds that Michael had earlier this morning.

Friday 7 November 2014

Friday 7th November

Back on Wednesday, James had carried out a goose count on the reserve at Gruinart, with his tally coming out at 23,970 Barnies, 610 Whitefronts, 119 Greylag, 1 Pale bellied Brent and a Canada hutchinsii sp. The figure for the Barnies was as high as James has had on the reserve for time of year. Yesterday on the reserve, James had a Barn Owl, a Tawny Owl and also a Goldcrest. Paul B yesterday had seen 2 White tailed Sea eagle at the top of Loch Indaal, one an adult, the other a youngster! Michael had a Golden Eagle, 4 Buzzards, 2 Ravens and 2 Peregrines out over the crag at Kilchoman at first light. Down on the "duck pond" behind Machir Bay, he counted 220 Teal, 20 Wigeon,and 25 Mallard. Down on the reedbed at the Coastguards' he had 40 Redwing with a mixed flock of around 95 Linnet and Twite. Over at Gruinart, well after all the rain, what could one say, it was flooded out, but all the same 7 Whoopers were still around as well a couple of Hen Harriers....At Coullabus, a first year Golden Eagle was seen, while down on Loch Indaal, 81 Scaup were counted. Along past Blackrock towards Crosshouses there were 170 Fieldfares present in the morning with the numbers up to 470 in the afternoon. Cluanach held a further 50 Fieldfare along with 2 distant Golden Eagles, Avonvoggie 54 Fieldfare and at Cattadale, 320 were counted with a further 70 flying South. Up at Storakaig an amazing count 2,400 Fieldfare along with 100 Redwing another 2 Golden Eagles, a male Hen harrier and a Peregrine. Keills held a male Hen Harrier along with 20 Fieldfare and 14 Redwing, 130 Fieldfare were flying South there too. The fields around Ballygrant held another 40 Fieldare while another 40 were seen flying South at Skerrols. Round the top of Loch Indaal, at the coal yard, 47 Ringed Plover and 9 Turnstone were present. Up at Outback Art in the fields, there were 70 Redwing and 7 Song Thrushes, with a GND in the bay itself at Sanaigmore as well as a distant Golden Eagle. Down at Ballinaby, 70 Redwing, 3 Fieldfare and a single Mistle Thrush. Finally there were 630 Greylags in the fields close to the Coastguards. By the way, we at least 2.5 inches of rain, little wonder that the "flats" at Gruinart were flooded...

Thursday 6 November 2014

Thursday 6th November

Not the best of days out here today, the wind has dropped a bit with ferries sailing from 13.00 onwards, and oh yes as forecast the rain has been falling all day, there had been quite a lot overnight, over an inch and it just keeps coming.. The windows, looking out at one point was just like a fishmonger's window of old with the water streaming down!!! Yesterday the weather was kinder and some sightings through for you. Paul had seen a Slavonian Grebe and 5 Long tailed Ducks from the Power station first thing. Later on along the shoreline, south of Bowmore, he saw a Snow Bunting. Ken and the his group had made the most of the good weather and had headed over to Jura. Their top sighting was a Snow Bunting along the shoreline at Feolin. Michael had a good morning's walk into Killinallan, the first time he has done it... He has a great list of birds for us, 11 Whitefronts, 135 Greylags, around 2,600 Barnies resting on the shore, 2 Mallard, 2 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 120 Lapwing, 4 Snipe, 4 Curlew, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Sanderling, 40 Common Gull, 5 Herring Gull, 6 GBB Gull, 35 Rock Dove, 14 Skylark, 4 Rock Pipit, 4 Pied Wagtail, 2 Pheasant, 7 Red legged Partridge, 3 Wren, 3 Dunnock, 1 Robin, 14 Stonechat, 1 Blackbird, 175 Redwing, 7 Chough, 23 Jackdaw, 4 Hooded Crow, 7 Raven, 190 Starling, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Twite, 1 Snow Bunting and also 16 Reed Bunting. This morning looking out his cottage window, Michael spotted a Siberian Chiffchaff sheltering up. This morning also, Martin, been parked up for a few moments close to Kilarrow at Bowmore and a quick look out on Loch Indaal produced 8 Red breasted Merganser, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Long tailed Duck, 1 Eider and a GND.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Wednesday 5th November

Some more sightings through from yesterday to start this evening's entry.. Mary had seen 2 Bullfinches on the "woodland trail" at Gruinart. Later on Mary had seen a young Barn Owl on her commute home to Portnahaven, must be winter right enough!!! Paul had seen a pair of Slavonian Grebes from the Power Station outside Bowmore. Later on, Paul had walked from Ballygrant to to the Sound of Islay. His highlights included a ringtail Hen Harrier and and then a imm. White tailed Sea Eagle. In the woods around Ballygrant Loch, Siskins, Redpolls, lots of Redwings and some Song Thrushes. He also had a Yellowhammer and a Grey Wagtail present there too. Over at Blackrock, Paul had been watching the raft of Scaup there when an adult White tailed Sea Eagle soared past causing mayhem, it soon moved over the Barnies that were at the top of the Loch! At Gruinart, there were 15 Whoopers, another ringtail Hen Harrier and at least 500 Golden Plover. Ken yesterday along with the birders from Sandwich Bird Obs had started their day off down on the Oa where they saw a Peregrine,2 Fulmar, many Twite and also 2 Golden Eagles. Also there were lots of Redwings, Fieldfares and Blackbirds, all very jumpy, obviously new arrivals! In the afternoon, over at Claggain Bay, over 40 Gannets were offshore along with a winter plumage Black Guillemot. Today Michael had an imm Golden Eagle out over the crag close to where he is staying. On his way out, he had 150 Redwing and at least 200 Fieldfare between Coastguards and Rockside road end. There were also 75 Golden Plover in the fields at Coastguards as well. Machir Bay, 2,500 Barnies were roosting up on the shore and 37 Curlew were also there. Over at Craigens a Grey Wagtail was present as was a small flock of 20 Chaffinches. On the estuary at Gruinart, 136 Wigeon, 27 R B Merganser, 46 Shelduck, 42 Pintail, 92 Sanderling as well 2 Greenshank were counted. Michael then counted over the top of Loch Indaal from Port Charlotte round to Bowmore, his tally came through at 51 RTD, 64 GND, 49 Slav. Grebe, 1 Great crested Grebe, 12 Mute, 9 Whoopers, 8 Pale bellied Brent, 303 Wigeon, 270 Teal, 66 Scaup, 5 Goldeneye, 13 Long tailed Duck, 154 Eider, 113 Common Scoter and 99 R B Merganser. Thanks Michael! Just before lunchtime, there were 5 Herons on the wee island on Loch Gorm, probably the same the same ones we had seen the other day at Sunderland but then there wee 6, possibly the other bird was lurking around the other side out of my view! There was a Brambling amongst the Chaffinches at the feeders here at home.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Tuesday 4th November

A wee mistake by me last night, I could make my scribbles out about some of Michael's birds... On Loch Gorm he had seen 3 Goldeneye and a Great creasted Grebe, apologies to Michael, my bad hand writing, or was it my eyes??? Yesterday, Paul from Nottingham had ventured out down towards the Oa, bad move as it turned out to be "almost a washout", Paul's words not mine! First thing on Loch Indaal, from Bowmore he had 3 GND, a Red breasted Merganser and a female Long tailed Duck. On the Oa, a Golden Eagle while on the road going there was a reluctant Woodcock not wanting to move from the road to allow him to go by, it was not until he got out of his his car that it flew off....Ken and his group had seen 2 White tailed Sea Eagles over at Bunnahabhain, as well as an Otter there. Off Bowomore they had also seen the Long tailed Duck and also a Common Scoter. A walk through Bridgend woods produced 4 Treecreepers and also Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Bullfinch with a Dipper seen at The Woolen Mill. Michael today started off with 2 Peregrines chasing a Raven and then out over the crag appeared a couple of Golden Eagles.. Later on on the barley stubbles at Rockside, the flock of Rock Doves were being chased by 2 Peregrines, possibly the same 2 up to no good! Along close to Sunderland Farm a juv. Golden Eagle soared out, and up at Sanaigmore another 2 were seen while at Bunnahabhain he saw his sixth for the day! At Lossit, there was a flock of 140 Redwings, with a further 35 at Storakaig along with 17 Fieldfare. Michael was also saying that he had seen more Blackbirds around today while driving around. At Cluanach over at Mulindry, he saw 6 Bullfinches. A male Hen Harrier was at Loch Tallant with 2 ringtails seen over at Erasaid and also another male at Sanaigmore. Late afternoon, the Peregrine was having a go at the flock of 95 Redwings close to Kilchoman as he headed back to his cottage. There were over 30 Chough out over the crag here at home this afternoon.

Monday 3 November 2014

Monday 3rd November

Another dry day here on the West of Islay, although I believe that it had been wet down on the Oa and around Port Ellen, no pleasing some folks...Quite a few sightings , so here we go... Ken Chapman who is over with a group of 36 birders from Sandwich Bay Bird observatory in Kent. On Saturday, they had seen a Cackling goose amongst the Barnies along the flats at Gruinart. 2 Ruff were present at Gruinart with 40 Chough seen at Ardnave. On Loch Indaal from Bowmore they saw 3 GND. Yesterday, they noted plenty of Redwings around the Loch Gorm area and further on as they went round the Rhinns, over 200 at least. They had seen 4 different Hen Harriers. At Sunderland/ Rockside there were 2 flocks of Rock Doves on the barley stubble, several hundred in all. They also saw another GND off Port Charlotte. Returning birder, Paul from Nottingham had seen 10 GND as he came over on the ferry on Saturday and he also had a Sandwich Tern drift past the ferry..Yesterday Paul saw 8 Whoopers and 6 Pale bellied Brents on Loch Indaal from the Power station. Up round Ardnave Point, he had a count of 50 Ringed Plover, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Sanderling, 1 Purple Sandpiper and 10 Turnstone. At the reserve at Gruinart, he had a ringtail Hen Harrier and out over the fields behind Bowmore, a male Hen Harrier. There appeared to be a fall of Thrushes overnight, as there were more Redwings and Fieldfares around here this morning, I saw 2 small groups first thing this morning, one of 25 in the field below the house before they took off flying South and there were a further 15 in the trees. Michael had a count of 55 Fieldfare and 70 Redwings as well as the ringtail Hen harrier as he went out this morning. On a flat calm Loch Gorm, he counted 113 Tufted Duck, 1 Goldeneye and a Coot. Later on at Ardnave Loch, he had a male Hen Harrier while on the water 2 Goldeneye, 6 Tufted Duck, 2 Dabchick, 6 Whoopers and a Coot. Also present were 35 Redwing, and 5 Fieldfare. Up at Traigh Nostaig Michael had 12 Snow Buntings, including 3 cracking males. Also there, he had seen 51 Ringed Plover, 29 Sanderling, 4 Turnstone. He saw a total of 8 GND offshore as he walked round Ardnave Point, a juv Gannet offshore too and a distant sighting of a Pomarine Skua pursuing some Kittiwakes. In all going round Ardnave Point, he had a total of 46 Rock Pipits! On the Gruinart estuary, Michael counted 144 Barwits and also 13 Knot. Down at Blackrock he had a raft of 72 Scaup with a male Long tailed Duck in flight. On his way home late afternoon, at Rockside there were 10 Whoopers including a family group of 2 adults with 4 youngsters. Bob today had a a male Kestrel and wee while later on a Peregrine both in the Kilchiaran area. Around midday we headed over to Tormisdale, we had a Golden Eagle down at Loch Gorm, with a further one close to Tormisdale, a total of 10 Buzzards on the overall trip, 2 Moorhens on the Distillery pond behind Port Charlotte and finally coming up the hill to home, on the fence wires, 16 Goldfincheswhile on the overhead wires around 50 Redwings. There were also quite a few Fieldfares to be seen around as well.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Michael from Dunblane had made the most of some better weather today. He had seen a total of 5 Hen Harriers, a male over near to Port Ellen, 4 ringtails, one at Kilchoman, another at Gruinart, one at Duich Lots and the final one close to Kintra. While going down the Oa, Michael had a femele Peregrine eating its' prey on top of an electric pole! This morning at Gruinart, he had a count of 1720 Teal, 1 Green winged Teal, 71 Pintail, 1750 Golden Plover and a Blackwit. On the woodland trail Michael had 62 Fieldfare with a further 70 over at Leorin, just out of Port Ellen. Also at Gruinart, he had 3 Whoopers and and then a further 5 later on and then another 6. At Sunderland Farm, he saw a Merlin. Margaret, this morning here at home, had 7 Whoopers fly past and then a Peregrine shortly afterwards. Many thanks to Gordon and Pauline Yates, the "Rochdale birders" for sharing some of their sightings while you were over last week. Today, James has been busy helping with a beached Atlantic White sided Dolphin. It was found close to "smelly corner" and I believe they managed to relocate it into the water down at Bowmore Harbour. Wonder what the news will be of it tomorrow...

Saturday 1 November 2014

Saturday 1st November

Danny sent me through this image of a Bar tailed Godwit which he took last week while he was over, thanks Danny! The weather over here not so good, squally showers kicking around quite a lot.. By the way the tally for the rainfall for October was 6.95", just a little less than last October when we had 7".... Visitors from Edinburgh, over for the weekend were pleased to see the Goldfinches on our feeders this afternoon.